I hadn’t thought much of skiing in Idaho. Then I went there. Then I learned how underrated it is.
Ten days, five ski areas, and 1,600 miles later, I got an idea of what skiing in Idaho was like. It was super. This is my list of the best runs I skied in Idaho. Some are hidden. Some are long. Some are unique. And some are stomach-wrenchingly steep. It’s my belief that some of these runs have serious potential to be considered as the best trails in the ‘Gem State.’
*Note: This is an opinion piece detailing my favorite runs from each of these ski areas.*
Schweitzer Mountain Resort skis like a bigger version of Grand Targhee on the Idaho/Wyoming border, except with prettier, mountain-lake scenery and thicker, wetter snow. Snowy, old-growth forest trees and frozen snow-ghosts dot this mountainous, rainforest landscape.
- Pucci’s Chute
- R1-R3 Chutes
Silver Mountain was originally called ‘Jackass Ski Bowl’, which was started in the 1960s as just something for the miners to do in their spare time. It had one chair at the time (Chair 4). It eventually grew into what is now one of Idaho’s best ski areas. The vibe here is quiet but powerful—Silver Mountain has the feel of a 60s-era mom-and-pop joint but with big terrain, phenomenal tree skiing, steeps, and the utter opposite of crowds.
- North Face Glades
- Moon Boots (Locals call it this—it’s the run between ‘Moonshine’ and ‘Bootlegger’)
- Wardner Peak boot pack
Lookout Pass Ski Area is positioned perfectly on a mountain pass in the Coeur d’Alene Mountains of the Bitterroot Range near Mullan, allowing for orographic lift, which brings snowfall totals like those in similar geographic positions such as Alta Ski Area in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. The place spins three chairs that access absolutely epic tree skiing and pillow lines.
- Purgatory aka Chair 3 liftline
- Big Dipper
Located in what feels like absolute nowhere, Lost Trail has huge terrain with only five eclectic lifts that give access to over 1,800 acres of skiable terrain. Powder, pillows, cliffs, couloirs, tree skiing, and views are what this place is all about—and no people. Lost Trail has a lonely and laid-back feel to it.
- Hollywood Bowl
- Popcorn Rocks
- Lewis & Clark
Sunshine, long consistent-pitch trails, and world-class lodging and food are what Sun Valley is all about. The resort just added in a brand-spanking-new lift this season and 380 acres of additional terrain, which definitely made this list.
- Sunrise Bowl
- Cold Spring Chutes
The truth is, these trails are only a few of plenty that Idaho has to offer. There’s a lifetime of skiing out here, with some 20 ski areas, small and large, and 114 named mountain ranges. Each resort wields different types of terrain, snowpacks, and atmospheres that can be fun for anyone. But there’s one thing that remains constant wherever you go in Idaho—and that’s great skiing.